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By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
Topic - Hart Memorial Trophy
Capitals general manager George McPhee says the NHL should be able to pick and choose which Olympics in which it participates.
Talk about Olympic hockey and many people mention the Canadians, the Russians, Swedes and Americans, the pre-tournament favorites, or even discuss players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Lundqvist and Patrick Kane.
Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals' dynamic winger, looked not too long ago like his place at the top of the list was being usurped by an impressive array of newcomers. But as the days wind down on 2013, Ovechkin, 28, has regained his place at the top as the Great 8 and is leaving no room for argument.
Alex Ovechkin remembers the criticism he faced when he got off to a slow start last season. 'I just kept working hard,' he said.
After simmering for a few years, the rivalry between Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby could be at a full boil Wednesday night.
Alex Ovechkin's teammates did just fine without their star right wing. But after sitting out for two games with a shoulder injury, he wanted in on the fun, too. Ovechkin scored two goals on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders and the Capitals cruised to a 6-2 victory at Verizon Center.
Alex Ovechkin capped his great season with the NHL's biggest award.
The Washington Capitals right wing beat out Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and John Tavares of the New York Islanders for the award on Saturday night. Ovechkin also won the Hart in 2008 and 2009.
Ribeiro was second on the Caps in points (13 goals and 36 assists for 49) behind only Hart Trophy candidate Alex Ovechkin. Ribeiro was the Caps' first-half MVP, taking the load off Nicklas Backstrom and other stars who weren't producing early.
Adam Oates coaches the Capitals, which means he coaches Alex Ovechkin. So of course he's going to be "very biased" when discussing the Most Valuable Player candidacy of the man who has put the Caps on his back like a big ol' piano and carried the team to the cusp of the NHL playoffs.
Putting the 27-year-old offensive superstar into all-around situations is what the Caps' coach called "part of evolving his game." Oates won't treat Ovechkin like a liability in one-goal games like Dale Hunter did. Instead, he relies on Ovechkin in all situations.
In last year's playoffs, Ovechkin saw as his ice time dip as low as 13 minutes and 36 seconds, even as he was scoring goals and helping the Washington Capitals win. That was under Dale Hunter, who put an emphasis on defensive play. Don't expect any of that from new coach Adam Oates, who could be the perfect guy to take Ovechkin's career back to superstar levels.
TWT's Stephen Whyno makes his NHL season predictions
The Penguins have offered former NHL MVP Jaromir Jagr a one-year contract, and expect to hear a decision from Jagr's agent soon.
The Penguins have offered former NHL MVP Jaromir Jagr a one-year contract, and expect to hear a decision from Jagr's agent on Wednesday.
Still, this is a three-time Hart Trophy winner the Caps added to the lineup and a player who tilts the ice towards him at even strength, let alone with a man advantage.